Saturday 25 January 2020

Man jailed for 18 years for violent sexual assault that left woman with life-altering injuries

Rapist Anthony Cassidy
Rapist Anthony Cassidy

Aoife Nic Ardghail and Sonya McLean

A Carlow man who raped and seriously assaulted a woman in her 50s leaving her with life changing injuries from which she is unlikely to recover has been jailed for 18 years.

Anthony Cassidy (34) attacked his victim as she was walking to a shop in the early hours of the morning.

A local garda said extensive CCTV footage, which was shown in court, tracked Cassidy's movements to and from where he dumped his unconscious victim on the outskirts of the town.

She said there was no footage of the incident, but grainy CCTV imagery showed a male dragging another person to the location where the victim was discovered 12 hours later. The court heard the victim has no memory of the attack.

Cassidy, a father-of-one with an address at Tinryland, Carlow, pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court to rape and assault causing serious harm of the woman on June 25, 2017. He has 34 previous convictions, including soliciting for sex in the UK and two assaults in this country.

Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy said by “anyone's yard-stick” the offence fell into the most serious category and noted that “in the context of the evidence” Cassidy would have been convicted with “virtual certainty”.

He said it was “obvious” that Cassidy had followed the victim. He concluded therefore that there was “a substantial degree of pre-meditation” after noting that the footage showed a woman “in a helpless situation” being carried or dragged.

“She was simply left there,” Mr Justice McCarthy said after stating that Cassidy made no effort to tell anyone and the attacker “appears to have returned home”.

He said the forensic evidence made it quite clear that the victim had been raped before he added that Cassidy seemed to have had “a straight forward desire to impose gratuitous violence” in addition to violating her.

He said the woman “suffered extreme brain injury” with devastating and long term consequences after noting that she has mobility difficulties and has isolated herself from society.

“She cannot wash herself, or use the toilet herself and her room for improvement is modest. It is very unlikely she will make a full recovery,” Mr Justice McCarthy continued.

He said from the woman's victim impact report it is clear that she suffers from nightmares and said she described herself as a broken woman.

The judge quoted from the woman's victim impact report in which she stated that she intends to “scrape together the little bit of dignity I have left and do my best to enjoy the rest of my life”.

He said that the woman's daughter had also written a victim impact statement on behalf of the family in which she stated that Anthony Cassidy had ruined all their lives.

“You have broken our lives but we are strong and we won't let you ruin our lives any more than you have,” the judge said quoting the woman's statement. He added that the victim's daughter has been coping as best as she can “with the dreadful situation she has found herself in”.

Mr Justice McCarthy said the “starting point” for sentencing Cassidy was imprisonment for life but he added that he must take into account his plea of guilty and expression of what he considered “genuine remorse” before he sentenced him to 18 years.

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